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  • Sharon Bradford

How to Reupholster an Iconic Vintage Cocktail Chair

Updated: Apr 30

Stripping a vintage 1950's cocktail chair of it's tired fabric and upholstery to the wooden frame and completely reupholstering using a mix of modern and traditional upholstery techniques to meet fire regulations is a dusty and time consuming exercise but which is very rewarding and satisfying to see the end result, not to mention sustainable and eco friendly to save quality pieces of furniture from landfill!

I offer bespoke complete or partial upholstery on vintage and antique chairs - replacing all or some of the upholstery elements depending on the age and condition of the chair. This particular chair dates from the 1950's and had been previously reupholstered and was beginning to look rather sorry for itself and so was completely stripped of it's existing fabric and filling.

The process includes:

* Stripping the chair legs of it's original varnish and revarnishing/painting as required

* Webbing replacement - this is attached to the vintage frame using a webbing stretcher and upholstery tacks to create a sturdy base for the seating springs and back of the chair

* New spring are stitched to the seat with natural twine and tied together with upholstery knots to give shape to the seat

* A new wire seat edge is whipped to the springs to give support and shape to the seat and webbing strips are thread through to the springs and tacked to the edges of the seat to prevent the springs from being pushed back into the seat when being sat on

* Hessian is tacked over the seat springs and to the chair back

* Stuffing stitches are sewn to the hessian so that fibre stuffing can be added

* Another layer of hessian is added to the seat and an 'edge roll' is hand stitched to the edge of the seat to prevent the stuffing from moving away from the edge when the seat is sat on and to retain the shape of the stuffing

* Layers of calico, wool felt and dacron wadding are added to the seat and back of the chair to ensure comfort

* The chair can then be upholstered with brand new fabric; this chair also has a buttoned back which the buttons are sewn through from front to back once the fabric is laid onto the back of the chair

* The process can be seen from start to finish on this chair below:






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